woensdag 14 december 2011

The first one: Our Honda CX500 chopper project

I don't remember which one of use started all this, but years and years ago a friend of mine and me decided we wanted to have a go at customizing our own bike. Neither of us had any experience on pretty much anything related to working on bikes, thought Vincent had done some work on a few mopeds.

We wanted to build a chopper, because that looked like the most fun thing to build. Since it was going to be a chopper, we wanted a twin. The problem is: the risk of failure was certainly there, so it had to be really, really, really cheap. We found this Honda CX500:

No need to wonder why it was so cheap.....
Engine, wheels and frame were the only usable parts. Good, they were the only parts we needed.

My first bike is in the background. A Yamaha YZF750 R

This photo proves it: There are bikes out there that are ever uglier than the Virago we used for our second build.

Now we had a bike, we needed the basic tools no bike builder can do without: An Angle grinder and a welder.
Vincent doing some welding
Me doing some grinding

We started off with stripping it:

A naked CX. You can see why the frame feels like rubber when you ride a CX. 

All metal work was new to use, so making a suitable battery box took quite an effort:
Trying to look angry for that 'real bikers look'. Having a great time though. The welder in the left of the photo is probably the most crappy welder ever.

Crappy welder + no skills = A lot of finishing to do. We just started welding with the welder and invented how it works as we went along
The box has a pretty tight fit. The indentation leave just enough space for the air filters. I am proud of how it turned out.

I think we redid the forward controls about 3 times before we were happy with them:
Gear lever: start

Gear lever: Almost finished

The crude set up of the forward controls

I received a lot of questions about the rear fender. It is not a stock fender. I think it originally is a Harley fender, but we changed it quite a bit:

The fender was in a pretty bad shape, but we got it for free.

After a while, things started to take shape:

Cool moments while bike building: Trying out new parts (the tank in this case) and instantly realizing it looks exactly how you wanted it to look on the bike.

But new rear springs and a Kawasaki handle bar changed the look to the final look:

I et a lot of quisteions about the mufflers. I dont know where they are from, I just know they are made for a Harley. They work fine on the Honda too.

You can see the airfilters sticking out sideways here. we had to scratch that idea, it disrupted the airflow too much. We later also changed the tail light. We learned by trial and error and had a great time doing so.

The first test rides. Memorable moments in any bike build.

Usually I am way too big for bikes. On this one it doesn't look too bad.

Time for paint:

Painting is by far the most dreaded part of a bike build for me. 

And the final result:

As a first build, I think we were very successful in creating what we wanted: A styklish bike without going over the top. It got us both hooked on building bikes.

A list with most of the changes (I will have forgotten a few):

- Mustang tank (modified)
- Kawasaki handlebars
- Exhaust with H-box (home made)
- Harley Mufflers
- Ural seat
- Harley fenders (modified)
- Suzuki Savage rear suspention
- Heinkel (?) Headlight (modified)
- Headlight brackets (modified)
- Aftermarket tail light
- After market brake pump
- Emco air filters
- Old warm water bottle for cooling fluid
- Home made forward controls and linkage system
- Home made battery and electrics box
- electrics (modified)
- Handlebar mirror (home made)
- Frame (modified)
- Oil breather system (modified)
- Tank brackets (home made)
- Triple trees
- Risers
- Cockpit (home made)
- Tank and electrics box emblems (home made)
- And quite a few more mods, not all are visible.

3 opmerkingen:

  1. Very nice Michiel. It's cool to see a CX motor in that silhouette.

  2. Thank you. I am still a bit amazed at how it turned out considering our skills at the start and the fact that CX500's, as you will know, are pretty hard to get good looking.

  3. Choppers typically are stripped down and have had many parts found on stock bikes "chopped" - that is cut down or modified to be smaller, or removed altogether.
    custom chopper